Dabble DB

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Make your data behave

Your data application is only as good as your data. Sometimes you may be faced with data that isn’t as precise as you need it to be. Dabble now lets you merge and split fields — basically equivalent to combining and dividing columns in a spreadsheet, but instead of having to format your data before you import it into Dabble, now you can let Dabble do the dirty work for you.

One nifty thing you can do now is merge a date and time with a duration (a length of time) to produce a value with a start date and an end date. To illustrate, here’s a movie showing a schedule from a recent Web 2.0 conference. I start out with the start time and the duration of each event, and then merge the fields. Once the merged field contains a start and end date, Dabble’s calendar view becomes more useful since you can see at-a-glance which blocks of time are filled and how long each session lasts.

Watch the video for a demonstration.

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Another useful thing you can do is improve the precision of your data by splitting a text field in two. For instance, the data you’ve imported might have people’s names in one field, but you want to separate the first and last name. What’s the point of that? Once the names are independent, you can sort people alphabetically by last name. Or perhaps you want to group together everyone whose first name is Steve. Here’s another video to demonstrate.

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